DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista (fourth from right) leads the ceremonial ringing of the family bells as a symbol of nationwide awareness on the importance of promoting family unity and relationship during the Kick-Off and Opening Ceremonies of the 27th National Family Week. The Secretary is joined by City of San Fernando, Pampanga Mayor Edwin D. Santiago and his family; Pampanga Province Board Member Rosve V. Henson; DSWD officials; and the Sub-Committee Chairpersons of the National Committee on the Filipino Family (NCFF).

The National Committee on the Filipino Family (NCFF), chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), is extending its gratitude to Filipino families who have celebrated the National Family Week from September 23 to 29, 2019.

The National Family Week is a yearly celebration held every fourth week of September pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 60, series of 1992, which seek to strengthen family unity and relationship through meaningful celebration and promotion of Filipino values.

The celebration carried the theme, “Tungo sa Maginhawa, Matatag, at Panatag na Pamilyang Pilipino,” which envisions better initiatives to strengthen the Filipino family in the new generation, and the sub-theme, “Kalusugang Pangkaisipan ng Pamilyang Pilipino” to highlight the importance of promoting mental health among the members of the family.

DSWD and NCFF also recognized the support of various government agencies, specifically the Civil Service Commission (CSC), in facilitating the early dismissal of work and classes on September 23, 2019. CSC issued Announcement Number 53, series of 2019, which encouraged all national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), and state universities and colleges (SUCs) to extend their full support to the celebration of the Family Week by participating in activities on September 23, the first day of the Family Week. These activities included the simultaneous ringing of bells and the observance of the “Kainang Pamilya Mahalaga Day” wherein government agencies were allowed to dismiss their employees at 2:00 PM from work to encourage them to spend mealtime with their families.

The announcement was received warmly, with Malacañang issuing Memorandum Circular No. 65, which suspended work in government offices in the executive branch effective 3:00 PM. The Department of Education (DepEd) suspended classes of public schools and work in all DepEd offices starting 3:00 PM, while the Supreme Court announced that work in all courts would only be until 2:00 PM. Similarly, LGUs in different parts of the country announced class and work suspensions in their respective localities.

As a result of this nationwide effort, DSWD said the yearly celebration of the National Family Week had been highlighted more this year, along with its goal of promoting the importance of strengthening unity, solidarity, and stability of the family as the basic unit of Filipino society and foundation of the nation.

Family Week activities

The National Family Week celebration kicked-off on September 23 in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga—the host City of the celebration. As a tradition set by the NCFF, an LGU hosts the yearly celebration to engage the partnership of local governments in advocating the importance of strong and united families at the community level.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, the chairperson of the NCFF, led the activity, along with Undersecretary for Policy and Plans, Luzviminda C. Ilagan, and Assistant Secretary for Policy and Plans, Joseline P. Niwane. City of San Fernando Mayor Edwin D. Santiago and his family were also present during the event. The kick-off highlighted the launching of the Filipino Family Sector Priorities for 2019-2022, which serves as a unified objective towards improving the lives of Filipino families, and the relaunching of the NCFF Search for Huwarang Pamilyang Pilipino. Another highlight of the activity was the ringing of the bells as a symbol of nationwide awareness and commitment to promote family unity and solidarity.

In support of the Family Week, the NCFF also conducted the 7th Annual Family Conference on September 24 in Quezon City. The conference centered on the theme, “Mental Health and the Family,” and featured speakers from various organizations who discussed the significance of promoting good mental health on parents and their children.

Meanwhile, an Interfaith Forum was held on September 25 at the Aurora Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The interfaith activity, organized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an active member of NCFF, provided an opportunity for families and family advocates from the different faith to come together and discuss family-related issues they have experienced throughout the years. 

Other activities conducted were a community outreach activity at the Manila Day Care Center on September 26; recognition day and renewal of commitment of NCFF members on September 27; and a fun run organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at ASEANA, Pasay City on September 28. The celebration culminated with DSWD Pantawid Pamilya National Family Day on September 29, where model family-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) were recognized for complying with program conditionalities, sustaining family togetherness, and becoming active citizens of their communities despite the challenges brought about by poverty.

As the lead agency in social protection and as chair of the NCFF, DSWD recognizes the importance of families in building a solid and united society, and in achieving national growth and development. The Department, together with the members of the NCFF, consisting of other NGAs, non-government organizations (NGOs), and faith-based organizations (FBOs) will continue to work hand-in-hand to preserve and strengthen the values of Filipino families and to empower them to withstand the many issues and challenges that come their way and achieve a maginhawa, matatag, at panatag na buhay (comfortable, strong, and peaceful life). -30-